China Establishes Group To Set RFID Standards - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure

China Establishes Group To Set RFID Standards

The National RFID Tag Standards Working Group aims to develop a national standard that's compatible with the international community.

The China National Standardization Administration has established the National RFID Tag Standards Working Group to draft and develop national standards for RFID tag technology. The group says it will draw on experiences from countries and organizations that have been successful in implementing the technology to develop a national RFID tag standard for China that's compatible with the international community.

"Developing national standards for China is critical because RFID technology is used around the world in a variety of applications," says Gloria Kamph, president and CEO of Interliance LLC, a global management, consulting, and investment advisory firm that has specialized in business development in China for the past 14 years. "This is a significant development in global business standardization."

Kamph says standards needed to make the technology a reality include electronic appliance standards, uniform communications frequencies, uniform data formats, and raw-product data configurations. Practical advantages include data encryption and product certification and validation.

China's government has been adopting technology standards since its admission into the World Trade Organization was announced in 2001. Giving foreign companies access to the Chinese market is expected to transform China into a world economic powerhouse, in part, by competing successfully in manufacturing and packaging of goods from clothing and consumables to electronics.

By 2006, for example, China is expected to represent 35% of the demand for the electronics industry and consume 26% of all semiconductors used to build cellular phones, DVD players, and more, according to iSuppli Corp., a Southern California research firm.

Many analysts believe standardization is needed to overcome the country's reputation for being the counterfeit capital of the world.

"China's role in developing standards is important because most of the packaging for electronics is done there," says Bruce Hudson, analyst and program director of enterprise applications at Meta Group. "Wal-Mart purchases a majority of its products from China. Companies attempting to comply with Wal-Mart's mandates will somewhat rely on China's ability to build standards for RFID and integrate those standards internationally."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. last year gave its top 100 suppliers a January 2005 deadline to put RFID tags on cases and pallets delivered to its stores. The move, in part, is expected to improve inventory management.

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